On Friday 5th October, Peak Translations hosted a conference for our linguists as part of our 40th anniversary celebrations, held at the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester. And we were overwhelmed by the response. The objectives of the day were centred around the need for us to have a strong and reliable supply chain in order to ensure sustainability and quality of output moving forward. In particular, our aims were:
To provide a little bit of context, the majority of linguists in the language industry work on a freelance, self-employed basis either for direct clients or for language companies like Peak. As such, they can often feel quite isolated with little face-to-face interaction with colleagues or clients.
We wanted the day to facilitate some interaction on a social level giving us the opportunity to meet and get to know the linguists we work with on a daily basis as well as those who were new to us and also for them to get to know us a little better too. And we had really underestimated how valuable this was to the linguist community and how much they appreciated having this opportunity. The overwhelming response from the whole day was how good it had been for everyone to meet and get to know our peers. And for us, it was an amazing feeling to have been able to facilitate that and really emphasise our desire to engage more with linguists and work in a more collaborative way.
At the beginning of the day we enjoyed a very interactive session where we asked the attendees to discuss the frustrations they have with the industry and put forward possible solutions that we could look at promoting and implementing, on a company level and also at an industry level. I must admit I was a little anxious about this session, worried that I may have put myself in the firing line, but actually it proved to be a really useful session all round. And I think we probably could have spent the whole day discussing some of the issues raised. It has given us some great ideas about how we can move forward and build on this conference to provide forums for open discussion between linguists and language companies.
The CPD part of the day also proved to be very successful. The idea here was to give the attendees an insight into some additional areas where they can perhaps generate revenue for their own businesses and also to look at how the industry is moving forward and where the likely demand is going to fall in the future. As with many technological advancements, there is often a resistance to adopting anything which appears to threaten our existence and with the development of AI, machine translation and voice recognition, the language industry is certainly no exception to that. We, therefore, looked briefly at services around post-editing of machine translation, voiceover and subtitling work, before moving into more in-depth sessions on search engine optimisation for multilingual websites and video-conferencing.
We ended with a question and answer session with a panel representing a range of organisations such as the North West Translators’ Network, the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and the University of Manchester, and including the speakers who had shared their expertise throughout the day. This was a very informative session covering topics such as training and courses available in the different fields we had discussed, the state of the economy in the region with a particular focus on exports and, of course, the topic of the moment, Brexit.
By the end of the day, I was absolutely delighted with the level of engagement we had achieved. I felt it was a huge step forward in terms of our understanding of how linguists work and also their understanding of our processes and requirements. I am really looking forward to building on this work and creating a really positive platform from which we can all work together to raise the profile of the language industry.
Helen Provart, M.D. October 2018
P.S. A big thank you to all our linguists for all the great feedback they gave us at the conference. Take a look at the video for the results of the prize draw!! Congratulations to……..
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